Two weeks without Andrea Bargnani earlier this month crippled the Raptors offensively. The team went 0-6 without him in the lineup, scored an average of 81 points and lost by an average of 12 points a night in those games. Outside of the Indiana Pacers game — a five-point loss on Jan. 13 and the first without Bargnani in the lineup — the Raps were never really a threat to win any of them. But in the two games he played after his return, the Raptors went 2-0 with Bargnani accounting for just less than 30% of the scoring himself. If you believe Bargnani's self-diagnosis, his absence this time will be longer. The fact he could not put any weight on the injured left calf on Thursday is telling. His two-week absence the first time around came as a surprise to those who happened to notice him get hurt in the Sacramento game two nights earlier. However, there was no hiding the severity of the injury Wednesday night in Utah. Bargnani tried to get up and battle Paul Millsap for a rebound during overtime, but his feet never left the ground. The left leg just gave out. He tried to run with his team back up-court, but literally dragged the left leg up the floor with him. He will undergo the mandatory MRI but his words — "Yeah, this one is bad" — and, more specifically, his body language after the game told the tale. He is going to be out a while, longer than two weeks. Next man up is a phrase more associated with football than basketball, but the Raptors have no choice but to take that approach. The immediate impact will see Bargnani's spot in the lineup taken by Ed Davis, who is no where near Bargnani's class as a scorer. Davis' points come, almost exclusively from within five feet of the basket. Bargnani scores anywhere from the rim to 25 feet out. He forces defences to honour his three-point shooting and that makes him such a pivotal piece of a rather pedestrian offence. Take him out of the mix and scoring becomes much harder for everyone. Defences don't have to cover the same amount of space so the gaps are much smaller, making getting to the basket that much harder.
Raps adjust to life without Bargnani — again
Toronto Sun | Jan 27